Do you ever watch Iron Chef? I’ve watched it for-e v e r. I mean like when they only had the original Japanese show with the English voice overs. I don’t watch the new shows as much anymore but I always watch The Next Iron Chef. My son and I love it (well, I love it – my son probably just likes it).
So when Chef Jose Garces was on the show, we were so excited. He owns a few restaurants in the Philadelphia area. And, when he won, we were even more excited.
We’ve been to a few of his places and always had good experiences. The one I was most excited to visit was Garces Trading Company. It was hyped as a cool, trendy place with an emphasis on wine and charcuterie (um, two of my favorite things!). My husband actually went without me on a work function (I was not happy).
Needless to say, I’ve been dying to go for a while. So, when my girlfriends and I planned a dinner out, I suggested we go there and they agreed, which is just one of the reasons why we’re friends! When I called to make the reservation, they told me it was Restaurant Week, which means there is a fixed menu at a fixed price. It’s really a cool idea – you get to experience a variety of what the place offers at a set price.
The big night arrived and I took the train into the city. As I was approaching the address, I saw an awning with the number on it (1111) but the doorway under that awning was not the doorway of the restaurant. The real door was at the other end of the block – um, confusing. Also, the real doorway was quite unassuming – I felt like I was going in the wrong place.
One of my friends was there but the other wasn’t yet. The hostesses were very friendly and sat us immediately. Our server was really sweet too (Jayna, was her name, I think). She served us some wine – they do also have byob but there is a corkage fee. I tried the Malvar, Bodegas Jeromin, Madrid, 2010 (yum).
There was a variety to choose from on the fixed menu and it was all very good. I was disappointed though since we didn’t get the charcuterie although I did get cheese as one of my plates. I also wasn’t impressed with the atmosphere. It’s like a French bistro, which is fine but I was hoping for something a little cooler or cozier – I don’t know…it just didn’t hit the mark for me.
We stayed for quite some time and the staff was very gracious. Overall it was a good place and great time.
Here’s what I loved:
- the service
- the wine
Here’s what I liked:
- the food
Here’s what I didn’t love:
- the atmosphere
- the bathrooms